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Jones takes over from Warburton as Wales skipper

Jones takes over from Warburton as Wales skipper

British & Irish Lion Alun Wyn Jones will take over the Wales captaincy for the 2017 RBS 6 Nations – Head Coach Rob Howley announced today.

Alun Wyn Jones became Wales 127th captain back in 2009

British & Irish Lion Alun Wyn Jones will take over the Wales captaincy for the 2017 RBS 6 Nations – Head Coach Rob Howley announced today.

Jones skippered the Lions for the historic third Test victory over Australia in 2013 after Tour captain Sam Warburton was ruled out through injury.

And the lock again takes over from Warburton four years later – albeit this time for their country.

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Jones has led Wales on five previous occasions but is named as permanent skipper for the first time in his 111-Test career.

And Howley – who will be one of Warren Gatland’s assistants on the Lions Tour to New Zealand later this year – admits it was an easy decision to make.

“It’s an honour to select Alun Wyn as captain.  His vast experience, as a player and a leader will help drive this squad forward and I believe he will flourish in the role,” said Howley.

“Sam (Warburton) has led Wales more times than any other captain and had great success in the role, however we want him to concentrate on his game and to be the best player he can be. 

"We had conversations during and since the autumn with Sam, no player is guaranteed their place in an international team and we want Sam to be playing his very best rugby and he agrees this is the best way forward.”

Howley hails "inspirational" captain @AlunWynJones: https://t.co/KOSMQMzQNx #SixNations pic.twitter.com/NWsAos17Yt

— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) January 17, 2017

Howley also named a 36-man squad for the 2017 Championship that included seven uncapped players.

Five of the seven, Olly Cracknell (Ospreys), Thomas Young (Wasps), Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers), Ashton Hewitt (Newport Gwent Dragons) and Steffan Evans (Scarlets), feature in a Wales senior squad for the first time.
Fellow uncapped duo Rory Thornton and Aled Davies, who have both previously been part of the national set-up, are once again included.

“I believe we have named an exciting and experienced squad for what is going to be a thrilling RBS 6 Nations Championship,” added Howley.

“There is a flavour of freshness too in the squad, with seven uncapped players deserving their opportunity and it will be exciting to see how they perform in the international set-up.

“It is shaping up to be another great RBS 6 Nations.  We have the all-important carrot of Rugby World Cup seedings on the horizon post tournament and that is an important target for us, especially as we welcome the World’s No.2 (England) and No.4 (Ireland) ranked sides to Principality Stadium over the coming months.”

The squad will meet up next Monday (23rd January) to begin preparations ahead of their opening 2017 RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy in Rome on Sunday February 5.
Wales squad – 2017 RBS 6 Nations
Scott Andrews (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)
Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (7 Caps)
Rob Evans (Scarlets) (12 Caps)
Rhodri Jones (Ospreys) (14 Caps)
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (17 Caps)
Samson Lee (Scarlets) (29 Caps)
Kristian Dacey (Cardiff Blues) (3 Caps)
Ken Owens (Scarlets) (45 Caps)
Scott Baldwin (Ospreys (28 Caps)
Jake Ball (Scarlets) (21 Caps)
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (105 Caps)
Rory Thornton (Ospreys) (Uncapped)
Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby) (71 Caps)
Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons) (3 Caps)
James King (Ospreys) (10 Caps)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (46 Caps)
Olly Cracknell (Ospreys) (Uncapped)
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby) (12 Caps)
Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby) (62 Caps) *
Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues) (69 Caps)
Thomas Young (Wasps) (Uncapped)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (21 Caps)
Rhys Webb (Ospreys) (23 Caps)
Aled Davies (Scarlets) (Uncapped)
Dan Biggar (Ospreys) (51 Caps)
Sam Davies (Ospreys) (3 Caps)
Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers) (Uncapped)
Jamie Roberts (Harlequins) (86 Caps) *
Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (59 Caps)
Scott Williams (Scarlets) (41 Caps)
Ashton Hewitt (Newport Gwent Dragons) (Uncapped)
Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues) (44 Caps)
Steffan Evans (Scarlets) (Uncapped)
George North (Northampton Saints) (65 Caps) *
Liam Williams (Scarlets) (38 Caps)
Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) (66 Caps)

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